If you make use of home garage, there are all kinds of solutions for tool storage and organization. If you work in a shop where you’re sharing space with other Pros, your storage needs be secure, durable, and have a professional look. Milwaukee accomplished all that with their 46-Inch Steel Chest and Cabinet and 60-Inch Mobile Work Station. Taking the success they earned and running with it, the Milwaukee 30-Inch Steel Chest and Cabinet now brings the same quality to users who need a solution for smaller space.
I watched the previous two opportunities pass me by as Clint DeBoer and Tim Johnson (PTR Reviewer and Shop Tool Reviews Director) took advantage. The 30-inch model fit my needs perfectly, so I made the call. A few days later, a freight truck skillfully backed down nearly 1/4 mile of driveway and the Milwaukee 48-22-8530 was ready to be unboxed and put into action.
Setting the Table
Assembly is a pretty short story. The Milwaukee 30-Inch Steel Chest and Cabinet ships with very little work to be done. We opened up the boxes and found the heavy-duty casters. Kenny Koehler helped me load the cabinet on my tailgate so we could install them at a natural working height.
From there, it’s just a matter of inserting your mats in each drawer and setting the top chest above the cabinet before you step back and enjoy the red powder coated matte finish that we’ve praised on the other models. Two more minor details are taken care of with a Philips head screwdriver – plastic bumpers along the base and a couple of brackets to secure the two pieces together. From start to a very fast finish, it was simple to put together.
The Milwaukee 30-Inch Steel Chest and Cabinet definitely has the look a professional needs – but what about the construction and features?
I really like the quality of the tool chest. 20 gauge steel walls are set on 6 gauge reinforced angle iron base and have a very durable feel. The biggest concerns I have are tip over and bumping against other objects. The weight of the unit should make it difficult to tip over, but there’s only so much you can do for this size of tool organizer. Plastic bumpers around the corners should take care of the minor accidents that could scratch up the finish.
Milwaukee went with industrial level polypropylene casters on the base. It’s one of those things where they’re either good enough or they’re not. These are probably more heavy-duty than the system needs – and this is a place where more is better. They roll the unit with ease and I’m not likely to ever have an issue, even with the drawers loaded to capacity.
My shop is my space… sort of. We have a few farm hands that need to borrow tools throughout the course of the day. Sometimes they even put them back where they came from. The biggest thing the Milwaukee 30-Inch Steel Chest and Cabinet does for me is separate my tools from what they can use and secure the ones I don’t want to give them access to. Secondarily, each class of tool has a specific drawer that can be labeled so the crew is out of excuses when returning them.
To accomplish that, the system has a total of 12 drawers. 6 full width drawers on the base cabinet include 1 deep, 2 medium, and 3 shallow spaces. I love the bottom drawer that has an organizer to hold my drills and drivers where they aren’t just stacked on top of each other. But if you didn’t want the slots for drills or what not you can take the organizer out. That takes up half the drawer while the other half is open for things like a Milwaukee M18 Fuel circular saw. My reciprocating saw, hammers, mallets, and other narrow-ish tools live in the medium depth drawers while smaller hand tools and accessories are found in the shallow ones.
The top chest has 5 full width shallower drawer and two half width drawers at the top. The bottom drawer locks independently of the rest of the top chest and also has a flat top to act as a small desk space. The top section of drawers are perfect for all of my smaller tools such as a socket set, wrenches, an assortment of different types of screw drivers, pencils, squares, and oil changing equipment. Then I use the lock drawer as my important papers drawer. I also use it to keep specialty tools of mine so others can’t borrow them and forget to put them back.
I love the drawers slides – they have spoiled me with the ease in closing them! The soft close drawer slides are incredible. I don’t even use my Snap-On tool chest anymore because of how hard it is to close them if they have any kind of weight inside.
Milwaukee’s draws are rated for a whopping 100 pounds with the bottom deep drawer of the base cabinet doubling that for 200. The total capacity for the entire until is 1400 pounds. The only issue I found was that my topmost right hand drawer sticks a little bit. There’s likely something on the slide that’s a little out of place, but I don’t think it’s the norm.
One of the features showing up on more storage chests is the integrated power strip. I’ve been running a power strip through a knockout in the back of the top chest for years, so this is an excellent improvement. The 46-inch model included two sets – one on the top chest and one on the base cabinet. The Milwaukee 30-Inch Steel Chest and Cabinet just includes one on the base. Honestly, I’d rather have it on the top to make it a little closer to the chargers I keep up there. However, there are screws in place to mount a couple of charges just underneath the strip. The cord wrap is definitely welcome.
Up top, the hinged lid operates using gas struts. 9.2 inches of head space will give you enough room to store many of your drivers standing up. Another feature Milwaukee developed for their line that others haven’t caught hold of yet is the metal peg board. When it comes to organizing frequently used hand tools, this is a fantastic use for the top space. With a little ingenuity, you can hang smaller chargers as well – there just won’t be room to mount your 6-port quick charger.
Loosening the Belt a Notch
There’s no doubt the Milwaukee 30-Inch Steel Chest and Cabinet is the perfect size to fit the space I need. It also has the security and durability I need for working in a small space and giving our employees access to some – but not all – of the tools in it. Appealing to my pride, it looks great. I can easily recommend any of the three solutions Milwaukee has come up with so far. This one is a great fit for the Pro with limited space yet priced within reach of DIYers that want better quality.
Milwaukee 30-Inch Steel Chest and Cabinet Specifications
- Model: Milwaukee 48-22-8530
- Weight Capacity: 1400 pounds
- Total Drawers: 12
- Total Volume: 19,199 cubic inches
- Weight: 288 pounds
- Dimensions: 19.1 inches deep, 33.9 inches wide, 66.1 inches high
- Price: $499
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